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Texas Tech History Lesson: Jones AT&T Stadium

Conner continues the History Lesson series with a look at The Jones!

Michael C. Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

Outside of my Sports Illustrated coming in every Thursday, most mail days are light for me. However, Friday was different. Walking into my residence, after a night on the town, I happened to grab my Friday mail, which typically consists of junk mail, and I set it on the counter to look at in the morning. Come Saturday afternoon, I get around to looking at my mail, and to my surprise it was not the usual Friday junk mail. My season tickets for the 2015 football season had finally arrived! Almost immediately, I began to contact my family and friends to figure out who wanted to join me at which game. For the season opener, the best friend I made at Tech, Kyle, will be joining me. Since we both enrolled in Tech back in 2010, (I’ve missed three home games since then, remember that for a few more seconds) we have seen about 60% of the games at Jones AT&T Stadium together. (It would be a higher number, but Kyle just had to get a job, get married, and not be as good of a Red Raider football fan as me.) All joking aside, we scheduled our trip to enjoy the game in-person. Many college friendships are forged during the fall months of football season. Kyle and my friendship is no exception. We’ve had many great moments admiring the cheerleaders, watching to see if that really drunk guy would get kicked out of the stadium, commenting on what we thought about this week’s jersey choice, and, of course, watching the actual game. As I earlier stated, Kyle and I have become great friends, and, like many other friendship, the roots of our friendship can be found at Jones AT&T Stadium. As a tribute to all the friendships that have been forged at the Jones, this week’s History Lesson will be on the stadium Tech fans love dearly!

Originally named the Clifford B. And Audrey Jones Stadium, (Clifford was a former Texas Tech president) Tech football first set foot on it’s home-field in 1947. The stadium opened up to a capacity of 27,000, and used natural grass. Saturday November 29, Tech hosted Hardin-Simmons in the first ever game, winning the bout 14-6.

For the next 11 years, the Clifford B. And Audrey Jones Stadium would remain the same. However, 1959 would bring the first major expansion for the stadium. A new lower bowl was added, which brought the total crowd capacity to just over 41,000. 1972 also brought more expansion, this time bumping capacity up to 48,000 seats for Red Raider fans. From 1972 forward, the Texas Tech athletics administration would increase capacity multiple times, by the end of the century the capacity would reach 50,000. The iconic Double T scoreboard was installed for the 1978 season. However, the biggest change was perhaps switching the field from natural grass to world-famous AstroTurf in 1972.

As the Viva The Matador readers know, the Texas Tech football program grew tremendously in the 2000s. To keep up with the growth, the stadium underwent a few changes of it’s own. First off, SBC Communications bought the title rights of the stadium, which led to a name change to Jones SBC Stadium. In 2006, when AT&T bought SBC Communications the stadium title changed to the current title of Jones AT&T Stadium. To keep up with the Joneses, the Jones went through some aesthetic changes. Press boxes were installed in time for the 2003 season. 2006 saw AstroTurf be replaced by FieldTurf, the east-side building was completed in 2010. 2013 brought the (awesome) Jumbrotron’s installation and more seat installations, which brought the seat capacity to 60,862. A personal favorite addition has been to see some of the Red Raider greats names be added to the "Ring of Honor: in the stadium!

I can’t wait to see what the future bring for our beloved stadium! I enjoyed many meals at the Red Raider Club overlooking the field, and I hope that many others have taken advantage of that restaurant. I wonder if alcohol will ever be sold at concessions, and what the newly announced Texas Tech athletics fundraising campaign will bring for the Jones. Those are great things to look forward to in the long-term, but right now I just wonder if Kyle and I will finally get up the nerve to smuggle tortillas to launch into the air come September 5… What are your favorite aspects of the Jones AT&T Stadium, and what do you hope to see at there in the future? GUNS UP!